Finding Peace On Earth

Part of the Christmas story are angels appearing to shepherds proclaiming, “Peace on earth”! Where is that peace in the midst of warfare, famine and community violence? The answer is found in a letter Paul wrote to a local church.

Part of the Christmas story is the angels appearing to shepherds in the field. As they announce the birth of creation’s Messiah, they proclaim (Luke 2:14):

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

This connection of peace with Christmas has been inseparable ever since. And rightly so. However, there are some misunderstandings. The foremost being there can be no peace on earth or good will toward men until glory is given to the highest God.

The Advent Season building up to Christmas reminds us that there must be a Second Coming of Jesus to earth. It is at his return that heaven’s government will be brought down to earth. Until that time, wars and rumours of wars will persist. Christmas is the first Advent. There can be no second Advent without a first. Therefore, Christmas is rightly the time to celebrate the coming peace to earth.

Still, peace has come down to earth with the first Coming of our Lord. Because of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection, peace can be found within the heart of every believer. The same Gospel writer who gave us the angelic proclamation to the shepherds also recorded these words:

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:20-22

When demanded for the time heaven’s government will descend to earth, Jesus responded God’s kingdom is already here – it is inside of your heart; it is within you.

The key to finding peace on earth is stop looking for it from others.

The government will not be able to supply lasting peace. No project or program, no matter how much it is funded, will be bring lasting peace. No promotion or career will bring you lasting peace. No education achievement will bring you lasting peace. No person will bring you lasting peace outside of Jesus Christ himself.

Stop looking outside of yourself for the answers. The answer lies within yourself. Jesus, in your heart, is the source of all eternal peace.

How does one find that peace while living on earth? How can one enjoy the contentment of peace in the midst of despair and negative news? How can one remain at peace during heart-breaking relationships? In Paul’s letter to the Colossian church, he gives three answers to our question in 3:12-17.

  1. You find peace on earth when you forgive one another as Christ forgave us.
  2. You find peace on earth when you withhold speaking evil of others and God.
  3. You find peace on earth when you determine to be thankful in all things.

PRACTICAL CHALLENGE – NEW YEAR RESOLUTION

The Psalms is a particularly helpful resource for cultivating the inner attitude for peace on earth. Why not resolve that in 2019, you will read 1 chapter from each of the book’s 150? You can take 22 days to read chapter 119 if you like. Meditate daily on each psalm and discover peace on earth before the end of June 2019!

Full Sermon Audio available under Videos.

Child Slavery

Slavery was an impetus for Christ’s Advent. The issue still exists today in a more evil form: Child Labour.

Sorry about the sobering topic during a glorious New Zealand Summer – but I have to share this burden.

Over the Christmas season, I helped to organize 6 related services and 2 memorials. It was a tough time. In one of the services, I presented the talk on the Advent Wreath.

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Part of organizing was being prepared to lead other services, if necessary. As part of that preparation, I wrote a talk for the Sunday following Christmas.

It was not needed but the research for that topic still burdens me.

Traditionally, the dedication of baby Jesus at the Temple is commemorated. Many years after the account given by Luke, his ministerial colleague, Paul, connected the Advent with Slavery.

I know — its a bit shocking.

What was even more disturbing was learning that Slavery is still an issue – even right here in Godzone New Zealand!

Salvation Army isn’t running from the issue. Their challenging article asks the question, “Are There Slaves In New Zealand?”

The answer, sadly, is yes.

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Along the way, I came across some disturbing images from LifeHack.org. I selected 10 of them to include in the PowerPoint.

Although I didn’t present the talk that Sunday, I feel compelled to post a video of the PowerPoint. I’m reading the notes for the message.

It is called, Divine Adoption. It is saved under my Videos page. You can go directly to the talk here.

At least there is good news – the Advent teaches Soul Liberty is now possible. But we all must still work toward protecting our children.

Thank you for allowing me to share this burden. Together, I’m confident we can create effective measures to put this societal cancer into remission.